Tuesday, May 3, 2016

new arrivals on the farm

We just got our bees this past weekend. Two hives worth, placed in top bar hives with the help of a beekeeping neighbor. Plexiglass observation ports are behind those hatches on the side.

I had read books, visited websites, talked to a few people who had kept bees in the past, but when it came to opening the packages, and dumping in the bees, it was awfully nice to watch it done in person. It seems like there is always some little detail that I hadn't thought to pin down, and also, everybody has an opinion on how to do things. It turns out that is especially the case with keeping bees.  

These bees were bought from a local business, which emphasizes natural  beekeeping. There are no frames or wires or other impositions on the bee's comb making, simply the wood bars across the top, so it will be interesting to see what they turn out. We'll worry about honey later, maybe not try to get any till next year, depending on how well the hives fare.

Two weeks ago, we also started 30 chicks (Cornish Cross meat birds) and five turkey poults. We are still happy with the Black Australorps and New Hampshire Red hens from our first flock last spring, as they are popping out eggs and free ranging just fine, but wanted some chickens to just feed out quickly, and get in the freezer. So far, the chicks are behaving as advertised, eating like crazy, and gaining size so fast, the feathers can't keep up to cover them. They are supposed to be eight or nine weeks to butchering weight and done. I'm weighing the feed and being careful to ration them, as they will eat themselves into leg problems from too rapid weight gain otherwise. Another week or so, and we'll get them out on pasture, and see how that goes. I've heard mixed reviews.

Here are the turkeys just a couple days after arrival. They feathered out quickly, and their proportions now look more like their adult form. The Cornish Cross still look like round butterballs.

We've had a very dry spring, so I worry for the other newcomers, our trees. We planted 50 Korean pines for enhancing our windbreak and for the pine nuts, and will be planting 50 oaks and 50 chestnuts quite soon.I may have to do some watering to get them established and through their first year.

That's enough new arrivals for now.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve,

    Good stuff, and I respect your approach to the bees. The hives look great too. Enjoy the process too and watch and learn from the bees!

    The Australorps are good layers aren't they? I have a wide variety of breeds so that they produce at least some eggs all year. The chickens here are just starting to come on the lay again which means an increase from 1 to 2 eggs per day to 3 to 4 per day. Autumn is a tough time.

    I've never owned turkeys, but they look great! Nice photo.

    Sorry to hear that your spring has been dry. I find the oaks here are quite tough to drought and heat, but won't grow, but the chestnuts need water in their first year before they get well established. I'm talking about a bucket of water before a prolonged hot spell, but the leaves should indicate what is going on with water.

    Nuts trees are the thristiest down here and I won't tell you how many walnut trees I've killed in the summer heat and dry and have since given up on that plant (maybe)...